Interceptive Orthodontics (Phase I)
Phase I treatment involves diagnosing and correcting orthodontic problems early in childhood in order to help the jaws develop in a way that accommodates permanent teeth and allows the upper and lower jaws to fit together properly.
Appliances may include:
• Palatal Expander: This appliance is used to orthopedically widen a narrow upper jaw. It can be used to correct crossbites (when upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth) or to make space for crowded teeth. There are several types, including:
• Banded Palatal Expander: This type of expander has metal rings that are glued to the back molar teeth.
• Bonded Palatal Expander: This type of expander includes a plastic portion that covers the back teeth. It is especially helpful when patients have an anterior crossbite (one of the top front teeth is inside the bottom teeth)
• Habit Appliance: This appliance is used to eliminate unwanted habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. At times, this appliance will also be incorporated into a palatal expander.
• Space Maintainer: This appliance is used to hold space as permanent teeth erupt.
• Headgear: This is a removable appliance, used mostly at nighttime, which helps to guide jaw growth into a more favorable pattern.